Ocean Service Vessel(OSV) Bold: Seafloor Research Cruise
TUESDAY, June 22 – For any students, elementary school through college, we thought that you may be interested in finding out what being part of a science team at sea is like. It is a job that may not be for everyone. It requires odd working hours, variable sleep, attention to detail even amid hectic activity. You work outside in almost any weather on seas that can become wild at the drop of a hat. However, there are some amazing perks to the job as well. For the science crew aboard the Bold this week, the benefits of our mission far outweigh the challenges of on-board work.
Photo: CZM staff David Janik and Chris Garby as they work with the EPA’s Marcel Belaval and the Bold crew to deploy the video camera. Lights mounted on the camera’s frame allow the crew to document activity on the seafloor.
Though our hours are odd, the work is very satisfying. There are four-hour shifts that run around the clock. The work that we are doing is important because we are collecting data that will be used for real-world decisions about our coastline. We have to be careful to accurately document what we find, and we find some really cool things. A typical benthic infauna sample (a sample of the organisms that live in the mud and sand), for example, may contain brittle stars, sea slugs, clams and many other living things. We also get to play in the mud, which apparently never gets old for some of us, no matter what age we are.
Photo: Sediment samples from the seafloor are full of life. Part of the crew’s mission is to collect this “benthic infauna” to help document the habitat associated with each type of sediment. Here, a crew member holds a brittle star found in the sediment sieve.
For us this week, the weather has been pretty easy to take. We did have one day that was somewhat foggy and damp, with some good wind. However, the Bold was built for going to sea for long periods of time as a U.S. Navy submarine hunter. Even in the worst wind and choppiest seas we’ve had, she barely rocks or rolls. She is a sturdy and stable vessel. Most of our days have been warm, calm and sunny. Yesterday, many of the science crew gathered to watch the sunset go down over a flat calm Cape Cod Bay.
Photo: The samples must be collected in all sorts of weather. Fortunately for the Bold’s science crew, the weather on this trip has been superb. CZM’s Dan Sampson helps to guide the full sediment grab sampler onto the deck as the sun rises on another beautiful day.
A final note…a pastime for the science crew has become counting down to the next meal. Our ship’s steward, Amanda, is an artist in the kitchen, and no one has to worry about ever being hungry on the Bold while she is around. In fact, we may all be a little larger when we arrive back in port.
Photo: The best kept secret of the Bold: the food is phenomenal. Here, a choice between strawberry cheesecake and turtle cheesecake is offered…at lunch. Get it fast, it doesn’t last long.